Europe is in the grip of a street food revolution. All across the continent, traders are taking traditional street foods – whether it’s banitsa in Bulgaria, gelato in Italy or churros in Spain – and repurposing them for a new generation. The streets are becoming a laboratory for new food ideas. But which country does it best? At the inaugural European Street Food Awards in September, we’ll find out.
All this summer, the main street food countries in Europe will hold massive food fights, at the coolest festivals, to choose their champions. The public will get to try every competitor’s food and vote for their favourites. The winners, plus a few wild cards chosen by industry experts, will then compete in Berlin for the European title. Check it all out at www.europeanstreetfood.com
The 2017 heats will be in Ireland (Beatyard), Russia (Kaliningrad), Germany (Bite Club and Heilbronn), Spain (Eat Street), Italy (The STREEAT® Food Truck Festival), Sweden (the Nordic Food Truck Championships), France (Bistronomie Club) and Britain (the British Street Food Awards) – with more countries joining every day.
The ESFAs were the brainchild of the team behind the British Street Food Awards. Founded back in 2010, the BSFAs are deemed to be the toughest in the world, with five regional heats culminating in a live, national cook-off, judged by the general public and Michelin-starred chefs. Ironic that, in the year of Brexit, the British now want to get back IN to Europe.
“Street food is taking over” says Richard Johnson, founder of the BSFAs. “And that’s because we are choosing to eat in different ways. We don’t want a fixed starter-main course-dessert menu any more – we want a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s flirty, low-commitment dining, and it’s why pop-ups and street food have become so popular. It’s a much nicer way to eat.”
Britain isn’t the centre of everything — whatever the British might like to tell you. So, for the inaugural ESFAs, the national champions will drive from all four corners of the continent to park up by the water for a weekend in Berlin. At Bite Club – street food innovators with a genius for pop-up food in unusual places. Expect DJs, food seminars and fire pits. And a floating bar.
Voting at the finals will be on the new European Street Food app which will showcase the best street food on the continent. With live GPS maps showing who’s trading where and when, it will also contain the latest news stories from a team of street food journalists, and allow punters to vote for their winners at Bite Club.
“The next step is to form a European team to take on the Americans” says Johnson. “Take a container ship to New York, full of our very best traders, and compete on the streets of Manhattan. Then it’s the Far East. This new way of eating is all about coming together and sharing food – in a world like ours, that feels like a positive message right now.”
European Street Food Awards 2017
September 30th 12 – 10pm
October 1st 12 – 6pm
Enter at MS Hoppetosse